Management of the Connecticut Sun say it will not consider trading center Tina Charles, the 2012 MVP and league rebounding record-setter, even there is reason to believe she might not object to a deal.
“I don’t know that’s the case [that Charles is unhappy in Connecticut],” said Chris Sienko, the Sun general manager. “Our expectations and our druthers is that she will play here. If she finds a situation she seems to like better, we’ll look at it for her – if it works for us.
“But that [a deal] would have to involve a highly significant return.”
Sun coach Anne Donovan said the team hasn’t considered moving their best player.
“Her value is through the roof,” said Donovan. “But I will say that change [the new coaching staff] is harder for some people than others. But she [Charles] was one of those who struggled the most with the change.”
Charles averaged 18.0 and 10.1 rebounds with 17 double-doubles before shutting herself down with five games remaining in the season because of her aches and pains, ironically after a 16-point, 13-rebound game in Phoenix.
If the odds play out and the Connecticut Sun get the No. 1 pick in the 2014 Draft, there is no guarantee they will just sit around and take Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike with it.
“But she far leads the pack [of college seniors],” said Donovan. “But the Top 10 will change as the season goes on.
Sienko says even the No. 1 pick could be had.
“You would be foolish not to listen for offers,” said Sienko. “People will make a play for it. We’ve done it in the past when he made deal with Minnesota [for Lindsay Whalen] to get Charles [with the first overall pick in 2010]. The Lynx were willing to move [away from the top pick]. I expect teams would make a move, even if we have the No. 2.
“What’s best is what’s helpful to the team moving forward. If that means giving up the No. 1 for another [first-round pick] and [established] player, why not assess it.”
As bad as the Sun feels about being in the lottery, it’s a lot better than being mediocre and drafting in the middle of the pack. If have to be lucky to find Elena Delle Donne, Maya Moore, Angel McCoughtry, Brittney Griner, et all, sitting at seven.
“The team has only taken one of my draft pick recommendations in 11 years,” said Sun CEO Mitchell Etess.
He would not say who that was, however.
Nor could Etess say how the collective bargaining discussion with the player’s association is going, other than its on-going with frequent meetings.
Indiana’s Tamika Catchings is the president of the player’s union. Renee Montgomery and Kara Lawson are currently the Sun’s player representatives.
Donovan is looking forward to coach Asjha Jones, who did not play in the WNBA last summer in order to injuries. Jones is earning a comfortable six-figure salary in Russia this winter, which helps her feel better, even though her Achilles is still sore.
“If you look at Asjha’s age, her experience and her health situation, it wasn’t a tremendous shock that she took last year off,” said Donovan. “And we know what the reality is. The players make more overseas than in the WNBA. But I don’t believe it precludes us from thinking that she hasn’t ruled us out.”
Donovan says she doesn’t expect to know what Jones’ plans are for next year until just before the WNBA training camp begins April 27.
The 2014 season will start May 17 and end August 17 and the playoffs will end no later than Sept 17, to give the players a chance to prepare for the 2014 World Championship in Turkey.
Dovovan also says the team has tried to deal Kara Lawson, the veteran guard.
“Honestly, we’ve looked at lot of different scenarios for her,” said Donovan. “Then again, every player is in that situation at some point.”
Donovan is still somewhat shocked at how pervasive Sun injuries were. The team lost 77 manpower games to them and was whole for just the first two games.
“It was challenging. But even if we didn’t have them, there still would have been a transition period [after taking over for Mike Thibault],” she said.
Donovan wants both of her unrestricted free agents, Mistie Bass and Tan White, back.
“Absolutely, yes,” she said. “But for both of them, the decision [of whether to return] will be based on opportunity [to play more elsewhere].”
It’s also more than likely that the Sun will tender their four restricted free agents, Charles, Montgomery, Kelsey Griffin and Kalana Greene.